Abilene Christian University (ACU) is a private Christian university in Abilene, Texas. The university was founded as Childers Classical Institute in 1906 and currently resides on 250-acre campus northeast of the city.
ACU is strongly affiliated with Churches of Christ and provides a diverse range of undergraduate programs from the sciences, to journalism, to theology with 125 areas of study. Students can obtain a graduate degree by attending classes on campus or by enrolling for online classes to help balance school, work, and family.
The following colleges and schools are housed within the University complex:
- College of Arts & Sciences
- College of Biblical Studies
- College of Business Administration
- College of Education and Human Services
- Graduate School
- Graduate School of Theology
- Honors College
- School of Information Technology & Computing
- School of Social Work
- School of Nursing
Along with completing required coursework for their chosen field, students are required to attend daily chapel and enroll in Bible courses. In keeping with the Christian environment established by ACU, all employees of the university are Christians and faculty takes an interest in students’ lives and studies
The university is organized into seven distinct colleges where there are more than a hundred majors for undergraduates to choose from. The university is particularly well known for its strengths in theological and church related fields, including Christian ministry, worship ministry, youth and family ministry, missions, and vocational ministry. Other notable strengths include broad-based teacher training programs and agriculture programs, particularly animal science.
ACU also has pre-medical/pre-dental and pre-veterinary programs, that are non-majors. These help interested students prepare for acceptance into medical and other health related schools by providing advising, mentorships, and test preparation skills.
Most Popular Fields of Study
In past years, ACU has facilitated all incoming first-year students an iPod Touch and iPhone to be used for academic purposes, earning the university an “Innovator of the Year” award from the magazine Campus Technology.
Admissions at ACU are competitive. The admissions office considers not just grades and standardized test scores, but volunteer, community, and church work in making their decisions. The essay portion of the admissions application is also important; the university offers a tutorial to preparing this essay on their website.
In addition to the wide range of state and federal financial aid options available to college and university students in Texas, ACU offers several of their own need- and merit-based scholarships.
Student Financial Aid Details
There are no fraternities or sororities, instead the university sponsors several social clubs to organize students in providing service, participating in intramural sports, and competing in the Sing Song. Men’s clubs include Pi Kappa, Trojans, Sub T-16, Pi Kappa, Gamma Sigma Phi, Galaxy, and Frater Sodalis. Women’s clubs include Sigma theta Chi, Ko Jo Kai, GATA, Delta Theta, and Alpha Kai Omega. The student newspaper is The Optimist. ACU also produces and a literary arts magazine, The Shinnery Review. KACU-FM, an NPR station, is run from the ACU campus.
Daily chapel attendance is required for all students, regardless of their faith heritage or peronal beliefs. Students who fail to attend chapels are subject to suspension. Chapel includes a 30 minute praise and worship period.
Students are required to live on-campus during their freshman and sophomore years unless they are living with parents who are Abilene residents, are over 21 years of age, or are legally married and residing with a spouse. Housing is also available to upperclassmen and graduate students. Residences for freshmen and sophomore consist of traditional residence halls and are separated by gender. Upperclassmen and graduate students may choose to live in university-owned apartments.
Dining on Campus
In addition to traditional, all-you-can eat dining halls, the ACU campus offers a variety of convenient dining options, including Starbucks, Quiznos, Pizza Hut, Chick-fil-A, and more.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Wildcats participate in NCAA Division II and the Lone Star Conference. Men’s sports include baseball, cross country, football, basketball, golf, and tennis. Women’s sports include softball, track and field, basketball, soccer, tennis, and volleyball. The school is particularly well-known for their track and field program, which has produced more than 20 Olympic athletes.
ACU has several of their own traditions to make the campus experience unique. These include:
- A Welcome Week to introduce new students to the school with social activities, informational fairs, and orientations.
- Sing Song, a large cappella competition held every February.
- In September, ACU sponsors the Summit, a series of biblically-themed lectures and workshops.
- A large portion of the student body spends Spring Break in missionary and community service programs.
Alumni include recent Olympic athletes Early Young, Billy Olson, Bobby Morrow, and James Browne, in addition to dozens of former Olympians. Other alumni include:
- Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune
- Basketball coach Bill Blakeley
- Film production designer Nelson Coates
- Professional boxer Randall “Tex” Cobb
- Film producer Bonnie Curtis
- KTVT news anchor Jody Dean
- Musician Holly Dunn
- Actress Annika Johansson
- Pulitzer Prize winner David Leeson
- Christian author Mac Lucado
- Singer/songwriter T.J. McCloud
- Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley
- Southern Methodist University President R. Gerald Turner
ACU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Association of Theological Schools, and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The school is also a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.